Hair loss treatment: Plant extract is a natural alternative to minoxidil says study

This Morning: Liz Earle discusses supplements for hair loss

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Hair loss treatments can be off-putting for numerous reasons. Among many things, they can be expensive and invasive. Take minoxidil – one of the main drug treatments for male pattern baldness; a permanent type of hair loss that usually runs in the family. Minoxidil is the benchmark treatment for male pattern baldness but it can cause an array of unwanted side effects.

However, research suggests there are natural alternatives to minoxidil that can deliver similar results.

Curcuma aeruginosa extract has been shown to inhibit the 5α-reductase – an enzyme involved in androgenetic alopecia.

Curcuma aeruginosa is a perennial plant that is often grown in Malaysia.

The researchers compared the efficacy of topical 10 percent Curcuma aeruginosa solution with five percent minoxidil solution.

To do this they enrolled 24 men aged 18-60 with androgenetic alopecia.

Subjects were randomly allocated to receive either topical 10 percent Curcuma aeruginosa solution or topical five percent minoxidil solution for 12 weeks.

Participants were followed up every four weeks.

Efficacy was evaluated by target area hair count, hair diameter, ratio of vellus hair (light, fine hair) and terminal hair (longer, thicker hair), global photographic review scores and patients’ subjective assessments of hair regrowth.

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When comparing the results, researchers found the target area hair count and hair diameter, global photographic review scores and patients’ subjective assessments of hair regrowth were not significantly different between the two groups.

What’s more, there were no serious adverse events during the study.

“Therefore topical 10 percent Curcuma aeruginosa solution is effective and safe for increasing hair growth,” the researchers concluded.

They added: “It can be used as alternative treatment for male androgenetic alopecia.”

Other tried and tested methods

There are other things you can try if your hair loss is causing you distress.

But most treatments are not available on the NHS, so you’ll have to pay for them.

Some wigs are available on the NHS, but you may have to pay unless you qualify for financial help.

Other treatments include:

  • Steroid injection – injections given into bald patches
  • Steroid creams – cream applied to bald patches
  • Immunotherapy – chemical applied to bald patches
  • Light treatment – shining ultraviolet light on bald patches
  • Tattooing – tattoo used to look like short hair and eyebrows
  • Hair transplant – hair is removed from the back of the head and moved to thinning patches
  • Scalp reduction surgery – sections of scalp with hair are stretched and stitched together
  • Artificial hair transplant – surgery to implant artificial hairs.

Losing hair can be upsetting. For many people, their hair is an important part of who they are.

“If your hair loss is causing you distress, your GP may be able to help you get some counselling,” advises the NHS.

“You may also benefit from joining a support group, or speaking to other people in the same situation on online forums.”

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